It’s 1967, the United States is at war in Vietnam, and in Long Island, New York, Holling Hoodhood is in Mrs. Baker’s seventh-grade class just trying to survive. He’s sure Mrs. Baker hates him. To make things worse, on Wednesdays all the Jewish kids go to Hebrew school and all the Catholic kids go to St. Adelbert’s and Holling is Presbyterian. He’s stuck alone in Mrs. Baker’s classroom. Did I mention that Mrs. Baker hates him? And she’s decided that they’ll use this time to read Shakespeare.
Holling goes from cross-country running to chasing two escaped class pet rats, meeting a New York Yankee, wearing tights with feathers on the bum as a fairy in a community production of a Shakespearean play, and coming to his sister’s rescue when his own parents won’t. All the while, he grows up, and it turns out Mrs. Baker doesn’t hate him.
I loved this book! The main character was such a great kid and while his parents (especially his father) are definitely lacking, Mrs. Baker makes up for it all.